Lidl shopper fined after charging electric car in supermarket parking lot

A buyer has been fined after charging his electric car in a Lidl car park. Max Wilkinson put Mini Countryman on charge while shopping at the supermarket and then drove home, returning to pick up his car two hours later.

A week later Mr Wilkinson received a letter saying he had been fined £90 (which will be halved if paid promptly). Signs in the car park in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, say customers can only park for 90 minutes, including at electric vehicle charging stations, and Mr Wilkinson was unaware of this.

Gloucestershire Live reports that Mr Wilkinson, who is a local politician, wants others to be aware of the risk of being fined. He paid the fine and doesn’t dispute it, but thinks it doesn’t quite make sense to also limit car charging to 90 minutes.

He recently bought a four-year-old Mini Countryman oil hybrid, and as he lives on a street with no electric vehicle charging facilities, he took it to Lidl in the town of Swindon Road – combining a shopping trip with car charging. After shopping, he drove home and returned to pick up the car after two hours, by which time the Mini Hybrid was half charged.

He said, “I paid the fine and he’s a fair cop. However, it seems illogical that many electric and hybrid vehicle owners are not allowed to spend enough time in the parking lot to get a full charge.

“The company should probably make that clear on the app or on the charger itself. People want to do their part by ditching dirty petrol and diesel vehicles. At the moment this change isn’t made easy enough.

He also called on the county council to do more about on-street electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Lidl and Gloucestershire County Council for comment.